Is Northeastern ready for a second-half run?

A sweep of St. Lawrence puts Northeastern back into the conversation of the relevant teams in Hockey East and leads the three things I learned this weekend.

1. Northeastern may be poised for a big second half

The Huskies swept St. Lawrence on the road this weekend, which one might have believed would be improbable given the team’s 3-12-4 record entering the weekend. But add in the fact that the Huskies also tied Quinnipiac to open 2016, you might want to keep an eye on this Northeastern team in the second half. It’s not likely they can make a run at a title seeing as they are halfway through the Hockey East schedule with a 0-8-3 mark. But remember this team hasn’t had Kevin Roy since mid-November.

2. Boyle’s shutout numbers in perspective

UMass-Lowell goaltender Kevin Boyle posted his ninth career shutout on Friday, a 1-0 decision at New Hampshire. It was his eighth as a member of the River Hawks, having played his first two seasons at sister school Massachusetts. What makes Boyle’s shutout numbers impressive is the fact that his eight shutouts at Lowell have come in just 54 games played. Thus, nearly 15 percent of Boyle’s starts at Lowell have resulted in shutouts. Pretty impressive numbers.

3. A good weekend vs. ECAC will help come March

Hockey East teams posted a collective 5-3-0 mark against ECAC teams this past week/weekend, including wins by Boston University over Harvard, the aforementioned sweep of St. Lawrence by Northeastern, Maine’s split with Colgate and Vermont’s 1-0 win over Dartmouth. Sure, a 5-3-0 mark may not sound like something to write home about but given that the ECAC entered the weekend with the best non-conference winning percentage (the NCHC has since past them), those five victories could become a bit larger in March. Currently five Hockey East teams are in the top 13 of the USCHO PairWise Rankings, with Boston College, Boston University and Notre Dame all taking steps forward to move away from the NCAA bubble over the weekend.

Hockey East picks – Jan. 8-10

Holee smokes! I’ve shaved two games off Jim’s lead. Something good must have been in my holiday eggnog.

Dave last week: 7-3-3
Jim last week: 5-5-3
Dave’s record-to-date: 100-46-25
Jim’s record-to-date: 103-43-25

Here are this week’s picks:

Friday, Jan. 8

Providence at Boston College 
Dave’s pick:  I think there’s a razor-thin difference between these two clubs, so I’m going for home ice deciding the opener in this pivotal series.
BC 3, PC 2 (OT)
Jim’s pick: With Demko out, I have concerns about Boston College this weekend.
PC 4, BC 2

Massachusetts-Lowell at New Hampshire
Dave’s pick: The River Hawks have lost three of their last four, making it really tough to pick them against a surging UNH club. To my mind, this is the most difficult call of the weekend. By a whisker, I’m going with the Cats.
UNH 3, UML 2 (OT)
Jim’s pick: I haven’t picked against Lowell that often this season. But teams with a dominant line have given the River Hawks fits and that’s exactly what UNH has.
UNH 4, UML 3

Merrimack at Cornell
Dave’s pick: This looks like a fourth straight loss for the Warriors.
CU 3, MC 1
Jim’s pick: Merrimack’s struggles continue with a difficult trip to Lynah.
CU 3, MC 1

Colgate at Maine
Dave’s pick: The Black Bears have taken only a single point out of their last four games, but all of those have been against UNH, a team I see as a sleeping tiger that’s been awakened. Given Maine’s success at home (4-2-1), I’m going with an end to its losing streak.
Maine 2, Colgate 1
Jim’s pick: Colgate has been a hit or miss team this season. I have a feeling in Orono it will be a miss.
Maine 3, Colgate 1

Northeastern at St. Lawrence 
Dave’s pick: I really think the Huskies are going to turn things around, but going on the road against the 10-5-2 Saints is a tough way to do it.
SLU 3, NU 2 (OT)
Jim’s pick: I agree with Dave. There will be a point in the season that NU starts playing better hockey. But I can’t pick that it will be this game.
SLU 4, NU 2

Desert Hockey Classic

Michigan Tech vs Connecticut 
Dave’s pick: This one’s a tough call and not just because it’s Huskies vs. Huskies. UConn has enjoyed some really high moments, such as sweeping Lowell a month ago, but also some low ones. I think our Huskies fall just short.
MTU 3, UConn 2 (OT)
Jim’s pick: This is a winnable game for UConn, but after losing both at the Mariucci, I’m not positive this is one where I can pick them.
MTU 4, UConn 2

Dartmouth at Vermont
Dave’s pick: The Catamounts make it four in a row.
UVM 2, DU 1
Jim’s pick: Dartmouth has started well in the second half but so has Vermont. Thus, I’m going with home ice to dictate.
UVM 4, DU 2

Western Michigan at Notre Dame
Dave’s pick: I suppose I should pick a third-straight tie for the Irish, but they’ve quietly put together a six-game unbeaten streak. And the win that kicked that off was 3-1 over these same Broncos. So give me an order of some deja vu,
UND 3, WMU 1
Jim’s pick: Notre Dame has the ability to be the best team in Hockey East in the second half. So I’m picking them until they give me a reason to do otherwise.
UND 5, WMU 2

Saturday, Jan. 9

Boston College at Providence
Dave’s pick: Round 2 of this heavyweight battle goes to the Friars back on their home ice.
PC 2, BC 1 (OT)
Jim’s pick: This is a tough matchup for BC in a weekend where it could use some wins.
PC 3, BC 1

Massachusetts at Boston University 
Dave’s pick: UMass finally broke a winless streak that had dated back to Nov. 7, defeating Army West Point, 2-1.  But I still can’t muster confidence the Minutemen can topple BU at home, where it’s 7-2-1 this season.
BU 4, UMass 1
Jim’s pick: One wonders if BU’s win on Thursday after Harvard in dramatic fashion will jumpstart consistency in this team.
BU 4, UMass 2

Merrimack at Cornell 
Dave’s pick: I’m afraid it’s a double dip this weekend for Merrimack, making it five straight losses.
CU 4, MC 2
Jim’s pick: I agree with Dave. Bad timing to have a tough road trip for these Warriors.
CU 4, MC 3

Colgate at Maine
Dave’s pick: This matchup begs for a split, but Homer Hendrickson gives the Black Bears a sweep.
UM 3, CU 2
Jim’s pick: I am actually going with the split here. Hard to sweep without a very good team and I’m not sure Maine is that team right now.
CU 3, UM 2

Northeastern at St. Lawrence
Dave’s pick: As I said above, I do think Northeastern will turn it around, but the Saints at home is the wrong place to do it.
SLU 3, NU 2
Jim’s pick: I bet Northeastern takes some points this weekend, but I can’t pick that way based on what we’ve seen to date.
SLU 2, NU 1

Notre Dame at Western Michigan
Dave’s pick: It’s tough to go against WMU’s 6-2-0 home record, especially since the Broncos are coming off a 1-0 win over Bowling Green, which had been ranked 12th at the time. But I’m sticking with the Irish.
UND 3, WMU 2 (OT)
Jim’s pick: Like I said, I’m on the Notre Dame bandwagon until I get tossed off.
UND 4, WMU 2

Sunday, Jan. 10

Desert Hockey Classic Third Place/Championship Game

Yale/Arizona State vs Connecticut
Dave’s pick: This one comes down to the opponent. We’ll list all possibilities, but UConn certainly has what it takes to defeat Arizona State. I’m afraid the 7-4-2 Bulldogs, however, are another matter.
Yale 4, UConn 2; UConn 4, ASU 1
Jim’s pick: UConn proved they can beat ASU, but Yale, I’m not sure about that one.
Yale 4, UConn 1; UConn 5, ASU 2

Friar mortality, 60 minutes, and Cats on the prowl

These are the three things I think I learned this week.

1. Providence is mortal.

The Friars went longer than any other team before sustaining a loss, but since the holiday break they’ve lost two of their last three.

Losing in overtime to a 9-2-2 Cornell team in the first game out of the break is one thing. But after coming back in the third period to defeat Boston College, thereby avoiding last place in the Florida College Classic, PC fell again on Sunday.

To Brown.

Yes, I know there’s a cross-town rivalry involving the Mayor’s Cup. Even so, Brown was 3-8-3 going into that game. No offense to the Bears, but no one is confusing them with Cornell or BC.

Jake Walman, PC’s high-scoring defenseman who has been sidelined by injury, is very much missed.

2. 60 minutes is not enough

Since the ball fell at midnight in Times Square, Hockey East teams have been playing one overtime after another. Six of the ten 2016 games have gone past 60 minutes of regulation with exactly half of those producing a winner. Two of the other three involved Notre Dame playing host Denver for sixty-five minutes in its series.

3. Vermont is turning it around

The Catamounts had an uninspiring first half, going 5-12-2 overall, but have caught fire since Christmas. After defeating Lake Superior State and Colgate to take their Catamount Cup, they kept the momentum going with an overtime win over New Hampshire on Saturday.

Unfortunately for them, the latter victory doesn’t count in the Hockey East standings any more than the two wins in their tournament. Although it was against UNH, it was an extra, nonconference game.

The Cats finish off their nonleague slate this weekend against Dartmouth, but will then see how far that momentum will take them as they host Providence for two critical Hockey East contests.


Hockey East picks – Jan. 1-7

The post-holiday action continues with more nonconference play.

Jim last week: 5-5-0
Jim to-date: 98-38-22
Dave last week: 5-5-0
Dave to-date: 93-43-22

Here are this week’s picks:

Friday, Jan. 1

Mariucci Classic
Connecticut at Minnesota 
Dave’s pick:  UConn finished strong in the first half, but I’m going with the Gophers on their home ice.
UM 3, UConn 2
Jim’s pick: If UConn wins this, they will by matching size against size. But I think Minnesota has more skill.
UM 4, UConn 2

Notre Dame at Denver
Dave’s pick: The percentage play may be to go with home ice on this one, but I’ll go with the Irish over .500 Denver.
UND 3, DU 2
Jim’s pick: I am going to agree here. Might not be the best pick but I like the way Notre Dame was playing heading to the break.
UND 3, DU 2

Saturday, Jan. 2

Ledyard Classic
Merrimack vs Union
Dave’s pick: A little over a month ago, the Dutchmen invaded Merrimack and came away with a 4-0 win. I’m going with another win, albeit a closer one, on neutral ice.
UC 3, MC 1
Jim’s pick: Merrimack just doesn’t seem to be playing its best hockey right now.
UC 4, MC 2

Mariucci Classic Third Place/Championship Game
Ferris State/Harvard vs Connecticut
Dave’s pick: I don’t see the Huskies taking this tournament, but will pick all possibilities.
HU 4, UConn 1; FSU 3, UConn 2
Jim’s pick: I think UConn could beat Ferris St., but likely not Harvard.
HU 4, UConn 2; UConn 3, FSU 2

Quinnipiac at Northeastern 
Dave’s pick: Quinnipiac did pick up its first loss of the year before the break to BU, but it still ranks as one of the nation’s top teams.
QU 4, NU 2
Jim’s pick: Northeastern often rises when facing a tough opponent, but not enough to beat Quinnipiac.
QU 4, NU 1

Massachusetts at Army West Point 
Dave’s pick: The Minutemen haven’t won since Nov. 7, but that streak ends here.
UMass 3, Army 1
Jim’s pick: I am tempted to pick Army after how Atlantic Hockey fared this past week. But I just can’t.
UMass 5, Army 3

New Hampshire at Vermont
Dave’s pick: I’m sticking with the Wildcats in this matchup of teams who had disappointing first halves.
UNH 4, UVM 2
Jim’s pick: I wouldn’t call UNH’s first half disappointing, which makes me believe it can beat UVM.
UNH 4, UVM 2

Notre Dame at Denver
Dave’s pick: This really should be a pick to split, but I’m going to gamble on an Irish sweep.
UND 3, DU 2
Jim’s pick: If Notre Dame had Bjork, I’d be okay picking a sweep. But I’ll take the risk and go with Denver here.
DU 2, UND 1

Sunday, Jan. 3

Mayor’s Cup
Providence at Brown
Dave’s pick: The Friars own the city and a whole lot more.
PC 4, BU 1
Jim’s pick: Providence finishes off the sweep of this two-game cross-city challenge.
PC 5, BU 2

Ledyard Classic
Merrimack at Dartmouth 
Dave’s pick: Dartmouth entered this tournament 3-7-1, so there’d be plenty of justification in picking the Warriors, but I’m going with home ice.
DU 3, MC 2
Jim’s pick: I think Merrimack will beat the host. And I don’t think that’s an upset.
MC 3, DU 1

Tuesday, Jan. 5

Yale at Massachusetts 
Dave’s pick: The Bulldogs are .500 at home and .500 on the road. Much as I’d like to think home ice will bail out the Minutemen, I don’t see it.
YU 4, UMass 2
Jim’s pick: Simply put: Yale is better.
YU 5, UMass 2

Connecticut at Arizona State
Dave’s pick: Arizona State has compiled a 5-12-0 record as a D-I Indy, including a sweep at Lake Superior State, but I can’t see it beating UConn, even in its own barn.
UConn 4, ASU 1
Jim’s pick: This is a lot of hockey for UConn in a short window but I think they can handle it.
UConn 5, ASU 1

Thursday, Jan. 7

Boston University at Harvard
Dave’s pick: I suspect the Terriers will be happy to get their focus back onto the ice, but the Crimson have been the far more consistent team, losing only to Quinnipiac.
HU 3, BU 2
Jim’s pick: I will go with Harvard simply because of the home ice.
HU 4, BU 2

Hockey East picks – Dec. 28-30

Thanks to Union’s overtime win against Vermont, I went perfect and gained a game on Dave in the slow week before Christmas. A five-game lead feels like a luxury entering the second half but one bad week and that lead could be gone.

Jim last week: 3-0-0
Jim to-date: 93-33-22
Dave last week: 2-1-0
Dave to-date: 88-38-22

Monday, December 28

Florida College Classic (at Estero, Fla.)

Ohio State vs. Boston College
Jim’s pick: A victory to begin the second half pulls BC coach Jerry York within two-game of 1,000 wins.
BC 4, OSU 1
Dave’s pick: I never feel as comfortable with clear-cut favorites in their first game out of the break, but even if the Eagles are rusty, they should dispatch the 3-11-0 Buckeyes.
BC 5, OSU 2

Providence vs. Cornell
Jim’s pick: Providence got to the break without a loss and there is no reason to believe that will change immediately, even against a very good Cornell team.
PC 3, CU 2
Dave’s pick: I feel really itchy about this pick since Cornell is 8-1-2, but I, too, am sticking with the Friars.
PC 3, CU 2 (OT)

Three Rivers Classic (at Pittsburgh)

UMass-Lowell vs. Clarkson
Jim’s pick: The way Lowell finished the first half getting swept by UConn certainly gives concern for the River Hawks facing a good Clarkson team. But it also should add motivation.
UML 3, CU 2
Dave’s pick: I’m not going to be as kind to Clarkson, which is 0-5-2 in ECAC play and only has a winning overall record due to a mostly soft nonconference schedule. So unless I’ve jumped ship entirely with the River Hawks, I see them winning handily.
UML 4, CU 1

Tuesday, December 29

Merrimack at Army West Point
Jim’s pick: The Warriors have done well against AHC competition. No reason to expect different.
MC 4, Army 2
Dave’s pick: The Warriors bring their nonconference record to 6-1-0.
MC 4, Army 1

New Hampshire vs. Maine (non-conference, at Portland, Maine)
Jim’s pick: Maine was playing well at the break, but so was UNH. This is a coin toss.
UNH 3, Maine 2
Dave’s pick: I kept believing in UNH before the break; I’m not going to stop now.
UNH 4, Maine 3

Catamount Cup (at Burlington, Vt.)

Lake Superior at Vermont
Jim’s pick: The tournament hosts pick up a win in the opening game of this pre-determined field event.
Dave’s pick: Neither team impressed in the first half, so I’m going with a Homer Hendrickson pick.

Florida College Classic (at Estero, Fla.)
Jim’s pick: If Providence gets past Cornell, I pick them to win the tournament. That said, we will pick all outcomes for Hockey East teams.
PC 3, BC 2; PC 4, OSU 1; BC 3, Cornell 2
Dave’s pick: I’d naturally be leaning toward Providence as well, but BC is awfully close behind and I need to pick up ground on Jim. Give me the Eagles.
BC 3, PC 2; PC 4, OSU 2; BC 3, Cornell 2

Three Rivers Classic (at Pittsburgh)
Jim’s pick: I think this should be Lowell’s tournament to win, but I also thought they’d sweep UConn.
UML 3, PSU 2; UML 4, RMU 2
Dave’s pick: I’d be tempted to go with Penn State and its 11-2-3 record, but that mark is a soft one, less impressive than Lowell’s 10-3-4.
UML 3, PSU 1; UML 4, RMU 1

Wednesday, December 30

Maine at New Hampshire (non-conference)
Jim’s pick: UNH picks up a much-needed non-conference sweep to begin the second half.
UNH 4, Maine 2
Dave’s pick: I was hoping Jim would go with a split because I’m going with the Wildcats.
UNH 3, Maine 1

Catamount Cup (Burlington, Vt.)

Colgate at Vermont
Jim’s pick: With the pairings pre-determined in this tournament, you never know if winning on the opening night gives you a chance to play for the championship on the second night. Either way, I don’t see UVM winning this year’s event.
CU 4, UVM 2
Dave’s pick: A 5-11-1 team against one that’s 5-12-2. Homer Hendrickson goes Hockey East.
UVM 3, CU 2

Hockey East picks – Dec. 19-20

Dave was able to pick up a single game last weekend during light action.

Jim last week: 3-3-1
Jim to-date: 90-33-22
Dave last week: 4-2-1
Jim to-date: 86-37-22

Saturday, Dec. 19

Michigan State at Northeastern
Jim’s pick: This is a tough one to pick as I think Northeastern has played well of late and Michigan State has not. With the game in Boston, I’m going with the Huskies.
NU 3, MSU 2
Dave’s pick: I was hoping Jim would take the Spartans because they have yet to win a game on the road this year and have really been playing quite poorly. By contrast, the Huskies have played well but haven’t gotten much to show for it. I think they get something to show for it in this one.
NU 4, MSU 2

Sunday, Dec. 20

Canisius at Merrimack
Jim’s pick: This hasn’t be a successful few weeks for Merrimack. But I think this could be the opponent to turn it around.
MC 3, CC 1
Dave’s pick: The Warriors have gone through a tough stretch, but I can’t see them losing this one at home.
MC 4, CC2

Vermont at Union
Jim’s pick: It’s difficult to tell what type of game we’re getting from the Catamounts on each night. And for that reason I will go with Union.
UC 4, UVM 2
Dave’s pick: I was leaning toward Union, but Vermont has split the last two weekends against 15th-ranked St. Lawrence and 11th-ranked Boston University.  This is as good of a chance as I’m going to get to pick differently than Jim.
UVM 3, UC 2 (OT)

BU upsets Quinnipiac but searches for consistency

There remains just one unbeaten team in the country thanks to Boston University. That leads the three things I learned this week.

1. A motivated BU team knocks off Quinnipiac

Maybe a 3-2 loss on Friday night to Yale was the motivation that Boston University needed as a night later, after falling behind, 1-0, to Quinnipiac, the Terriers rallied for a 4-1 upset of the Bobcats. The reality is the weekend was another one for BU where there wasn’t a consistent output for back-to-back nights. The Terriers have only swept one weekend this year, against Northeastern in the beginning of November. This BU club certainly has the potential to be a championship contender but might need a bit more consistency after the break.

2. Notre Dame continues to have BC’s number

Notre Dame scored three late goals on Thursday night to overcome a 3-1 deficit against Boston College, pulling off a 4-3 victory. It does seem that the Irish have BC’s number since coming into Hockey East. Last season, an unranked Notre Dame team split a series at home with the Eagles, who at the time were ranked No. 9 in the USCHO.com poll. The season prior, 14th ranked Notre Dame knocked off the No. 1-ranked Eagles, 2-1 in overtime, to close the season then returned two weeks later to upset BC in a best-of-three quarterfinal series. The two play another single game in Chestnut Hill on January 29 looking for the regular-season sweep.

3. Friars are the nation’s remaining unbeaten

Providence won the first game of the Mayor’s Cup series against cross-town rival Brown on Thursday and, coupled with Quinnipiac’s loss on Saturday, the Friars are the only unbeaten team in college hockey. Despite being the defending national champs, few people saw this coming after the loss of Jon Gillies to the pros. But Nick Ellis has been phenomenal, posting a 1.69 goals against average and a .940 save percentage.

Hockey East picks – Dec. 11-12

Even when I have a strong week, Jimmy matches me. And when I don’t…

Dave last week: 8-4-2
Jim last week: 8-4-2
Dave’s record-to-date: 82-35-21
Jim’s record-to-date: 87-30-21

Here are this week’s picks:

Friday, Dec. 11

Merrimack at Connecticut 
Dave’s pick: A week ago, I’d have gone with the Warriors, but it’s hard to ignore UConn’s sweep of Massachusetts-Lowell last weekend. Merrimack has also cooled off from its torrid start, losing its last three by a cumulative 10-1 score and going only 0-3-2 in its last five.
UConn 2, MC 1
Jim’s pick: I like the way UConn played last weekend but think there could be a let down after the back-to-back upsets. I am going with Merrimack.
MC 3, UConn 2

Union at Massachusetts
Dave’s pick: For a while there, the Minutemen were one of the top surprises in the league, if not the country. But they’ve plummeted back to Earth with an 0-5-3 mark since their sweep of UConn a month ago. I’m not sure I’m a believer in Union, especially on the road, but I’m casting my lot with the Dutchmen.
Union 4, UMass 3
Jim’s pick: Dave said it well. Hard to pick UMass here.
Union 4, UMass 2

Boston University at Yale
Dave’s pick: The Terriers have been all over the map while Yale is, somewhat similarly, a game over .500. If this were in BU’s barn, where the Terriers are 7-2-1, I’d go with them. But I think that 1-3-1 road record is about to get worse.
Yale 3, BU 2
Jim’s pick: I am giving Dave opportunities to get back in this race by not picking the same. But I think BU can win this one.
BU 4, Yale 3

St. Lawrence at Vermont
Dave’s pick: The Catamounts did come out of their tailspin last week, splitting with BU, but I’ll take the Larries, even on the road.
SLU 3, UVM 2
Jim’s pick: Vermont will struggle without goaltender Mike Santaguida. That is the difference.
SLU 4, UVM 3

Dartmouth at New Hampshire 
Dave’s pick: It would be nice to see the Wildcats go into the Holiday break with a four-game unbeaten streak, and that’s exactly what I think will happen.
UNH 4, Dartmouth 3
Jim’s pick: The in-state battle goes to the home club.
UNH 4, Dartmouth 2

Saturday, Dec. 12

Boston University at Quinnipiac 
Dave’s pick: At 15-0-2, Quinnipiac is much too tough an opponent, at home no less, for the up-and-down Terriers. Back-to-back losses to the ECAC dampen the Yuletide joy for the Terriers.
QU 4, BU 1
Jim’s pick: I think the game will be closer. Maybe even a BU upset but I can’t pick that.
QU 3, BU 2

Vermont at St. Lawrence
Dave’s pick: I’m picking a lot of ECAC wins over Hockey East, but that’s how it seems to be shaping up. The Catamounts get swept.
SLU 4, UVM 2
Jim’s pick: Agreed. This could be a tough stretch for Vermont.
SLU 5, UVM 3

Sweeps change the Hockey East landscape

These are the three things I think I learned this week.

1. Connecticut sweeps Massachusetts-Lowell!

UConn got off to a surprisingly strong start in Hockey East last year, but came into the weekend struggling with a 1-7-0 league record. And since the Huskies were facing a Lowell squad that was undefeated in Hockey East play, folks like me didn’t have much optimism for a turnaround.

A split would have been more than a moral victory. (Well, of course. It would have included an actual victory. But you get my point.) It would have included an important two points against one of the league’s top teams and provided a huge confidence boost.

But a sweep? That was eye-opening.

2. And then there were two.

Two teams now remain undefeated in Hockey East play: Providence and Boston College, not coincidentally the numbers one and two teams in the country going into the weekend.

Providence swept a Merrimack team that had been mighty pesky, earning a number 16 ranking itself. But the reigning national champs took a close one in Merrimack’s barn and then dominated a third period back at home to take a decisive 4-0 win.

The Eagles only managed three of four points against Northeastern, but that’s still nothing to sneeze at despite the Huskies’ 0-8-3 league record.

With Lowell’s twin losses, these two clubs are separating themselves from the pack, despite what the standings (and the radically unbalanced number of league games) show.

3. Notre Dame moves into striking distance.

It feels like the Irish have been playing possum this year. They’ve been at the fringe of the national rankings at number 20, but with a sweep of Massachusetts now are one of only two teams with only a single league loss. (New Hampshire is the other, but 2-1-4 doesn’t impress the way that 5-1-2 does.)

The 3-1 and 5-1 victories appeared, at least for someone who wasn’t in South Bend, quite conclusive.

If the Irish can topple Boston College on Thursday, we may have ourselves another serious contender for the title.

Hockey East picks – Dec. 4-10

Dave and I had equally as impressive weeks last week, thus my lead stands at five games. (Did I hit “bold” there?)

Jim last week: 12-2-1
Jim to-date: 79-26-19
Dave last week: 12-2-1
Dave to-date: 74-31-19

Friday, December 4

Vermont at Boston University
Jim’s pick: I feel like Vermont is better than it is playing right now, but the reality is you can’t pick them right now, especially against BU.
BU 4, UVM 2
Dave’s pick: Since that season-opening upset of Minnesota, Vermont has managed only two wins and those have come against Connecticut and Northeastern, a collective 1-14-2 in Hockey East. As Jim says, you can’t pick the Catamounts.
BU 4, UVM 1

Providence at Merrimack
Jim’s pick: Though I love picking Merrimack at home, I don’t like the way the Warriors played against Union and Providence has the tools necessary to win this.
PC 3, MC 1
Dave’s pick: Merrimack has actually posted a better record on the road (3-0-1) than at home (3-2-3), but the Friars have excelled wherever they’ve played.
PC 4, MC 2

New Hampshire at Maine
Jim’s pick: I know Maine is playing well and UNH has been inconsistent. I see this weekend as a split so I’ll go with a home split.
Maine 3, UNH 2
Dave’s pick: Maine is 4-0-1 at home, but 0-5-1 on the road. With this contest at Alfond, I really should just go with the odds. But I can’t keep agreeing with Jim, and I’m going to believe in UNH one more week. Yes, I’ve said that before, but this time, I really, really mean it.
UNH 3, Maine 2 (OT)

Massachusetts at Notre Dame
Jim’s pick: Good news folks. This game can only go one (five-minute) overtime. Hosts win.
ND 4, UMass 2
Dave’s pick: I’ve really struggled with my Notre Dame picks, but I can’t go against them with this contest in the Irish barn.
ND 4, UMass 3

Saturday, December 5

Northeastern at Boston College
Jim’s pick: Northeastern may have put up 7 against Colgate but BC is hardly Colgate.
BC 4, NU 2
Dave’s pick: I hope Northeastern turns things around, but 12-1-0 loses to 2-11-2? Nope.
BC 4, NU 1

Vermont at Boston University
Jim’s pick: The Terriers complete the sweep at home.
BU 4, UVM 3
Dave’s pick: Tough times for the Catamounts.
BU 4, UVM 2

Massachusetts at Notre Dame
Jim’s pick: The Irish complete the home sweep while UMass hits the skids for the first time this season.
ND 3, UMass 1
Dave’s pick: Good grief, Jim is giving me no opportunities to catch up. Maybe there will be some openings next week.
ND 3, UMass 2

Merrimack at Providence
Jim’s pick: There should be a good number of sweeps this weekend. This is another.
PC 4, MC 1
Dave’s pick: Agreed. The Friars go to 11-0-3.
PC 3, MC 1

UMass-Lowell at Connecticut
Jim’s pick: The River Hawks keep the unbeaten streak alive, but it’s not easy.
UML 2, UConn 1
Dave’s pick: I think the results will be more lopsided than Jim thinks. The Huskies continue to struggle.
UML 4, UConn 2

Maine at New Hampshire
Jim’s pick: These picks could easily kill me. But UNH gets the split.
UNH 4, Maine 2
Dave’s pick: The Wildcats get the “easy” half of the sweep.
UNH 3, Maine 2

Sunday, December 6

Boston College at Northeastern
Jim’s pick: Eagles extend the winning streak to 13.
BC 4, NU 2
Dave’s pick: The Eagles are the wrong opponent for Northeastern to start its turnaround against.
BC 4, NU 1

Connecticut at UMass-Lowell
Jim’s pick: I am so uncomfortable picking this many sweeps in a weekend, but here is another.
UML 4, UConn 2
Dave’s pick: I’m uncomfortable matching so many of Jim’s picks, but I can’t see a different outcome.
UML 4. UConn 2

Thursday, December 10

Notre Dame at Boston College
Jim’s pick: This will be a test for BC, but I’m not picking against the Eagles right now.
BC 3, ND 1
Dave’s pick: I think the test is for the Irish and I think they’ll fail it.
BC 3, ND 1

Brown at Providence (Mayor’s Cup)
Jim’s pick: This is typically a tough game for Providence and having watched Brown play last weekend, I believe it could be. But I’m not picking against the Friars on home ice.
PC 4, Brown 2
Dave’s pick: I’m not picking against the Friars here, I’m not picking against them there, I’m not picking against them anywhere.
PC 4, Brown 1

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